April 17th, 2012 9:35 AM by Ginger Turner
Texas Home Sales Return to Normal
By David S. Jones, Senior Editor, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University
April 17, 2012/ Release No. 20
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Despite today’s uncertain economic climate, a noted residential analyst sees a “slow upturn” ahead for the Texas housing market.
Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, is optimistic about the state’s home sales in coming months.
“Home sales in the state rebounded a very modest 0.7 percent in 2011,” he said. “That was a big improvement over the 4.5 percent decline in 2010. A gradual improvement in monthly sales moving toward the long-term norm is expected to continue into 2013.”
Gaines projects Texas home sales to be in the neighborhood of 212,000 this year, an increase of 3 to 3.5 percent more than last year.
“The projected 2012 sales level is consistent with the historical rate of statewide sales per 1,000 households,” said Gaines. “The three-year sales trend that began in 2010 reflects a reversion to the 1997—98 pace.”
In other words, he said, sales are getting back to a “normal and sustainable” level. The residential analyst cautions that the Texas housing market is “somewhat precarious” and even a small factor could derail the housing recovery.
Gaines cited several economic concerns — both in the United States and overseas — that could alter his predictions dramatically. For example, Europe’s unstable financial markets could trigger a U.S. “retrenchment” or outright recession. In this country, the credit squeeze makes mortgages more difficult to obtain.
“Many buyers are postponing purchases because of a lack of confidence in the market,” Gaines wrote in an article published recently in Tierra Grande magazine. “They are concerned that prices may not have bottomed.”